18 Ship of Fools

Discuss Blu-rays released by Indicator and the films on them.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#26 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:48 pm

Schickel's commentary was pretty much a take down of Rebecca from MGM's bluray release. Thankfully, that was left off the Criterion.

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CSM126
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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#27 Post by CSM126 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:35 pm

If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Warner go out of their way to record “we hate this” critic commentaries for one of the numerous Matrix trilogy releases? I remember them using it as a weird selling point. You can watch all three movies with exasperated ranting about how shitty they are! Buy now!

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#28 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:06 pm

CSM126 wrote:If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Warner go out of their way to record “we hate this” critic commentaries for one of the numerous Matrix trilogy releases? I remember them using it as a weird selling point. You can watch all three movies with exasperated ranting about how shitty they are! Buy now!
Kind of - the critics all generally like the first film (apart from the slower paced, more conventional material in the 'real world') and it is only from about five minutes into Reloaded (during the contextless action sequence premonition of the ending) that they start complaining about the films and trying to pinpoint where the excitement drained away as the sequels move into more conventional character and action material.

And the more negative critics commentary was contrasted with the philosopher's commentary over the films, where they really love the action, and spend most of the more problematic parts of the sequels talking about the philosophical underpinnings of the material! (Headlined by Cornel West who also turns up in a scene in Reloaded as one of the Zion Council members. He's kind of in the same cameo role that Jean Simmons has in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within!)

I seem to remember that the Wachowskis had a foreword in the booklet of the DVD set that thanked Warners for letting them do that, and indulging their experiment by letting the critics speak their mind! I think they also say that if they'd had the space on the DVD they wanted to do a commentary with critics who were more positive and philosophers who were more negative too!

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#29 Post by Big Ben » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:43 pm

Never forget when Siskel and Ebert gave two thumbs down to Lost Highway David Lynch put it on a poster.

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#30 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:45 pm

Indicator, you've heard the people: commission me

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#31 Post by MichaelB » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:56 pm

I'd best not name the releases in question (and I didn't work on most of them myself), but I know of quite a few instances when a more critical approach was explicitly vetoed by the rightsholder - including one example where the extras were eviscerated to such an extent that a new interview with the director was almost dropped altogether, as there was precious little substance left once all the colour had been drained out of it.

On the whole I've been lucky: although I've overseen loads of releases licensed from Hollywood majors they tend not to be especially hands-on with single-territory releases outside the US provided I demonstrably jump through the right contractual hoops. They, or more likely their UK agents, will scour artwork and credits blocks with the proverbial fine-tooth comb (all that stuff about the star's name being no less than 50% of the title size and always on the left-hand side applies just as much to Blu-ray reissues in 2017 as it did to the original ad campaign 40-50 years earlier), but they generally don't inspect the booklet or extras. But there are some rightsholders whose films I haven't worked with at all, and based on well-sourced rumour I'm glad I haven't had that dubious pleasure.

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#32 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:00 pm

Interesting. I know Kino Lorber Studio Classics stopped licensing Trailers From Hell clips after a critical inclusion early in the label was whined about by fans, but it somehow hadn't occurred to me that the rights holders themselves might need to approve a label's extras

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#33 Post by MichaelB » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:22 pm

I once had a booklet essay censored by the rightsholder because I mentioned that the film in question was its (long-defunct) production company's only hit. The rightsholder insisted that it be taken out, as they didn't want me to mention that their other films from that period had flopped. Even though this was a statement of absolute, long-established and easily verifiable fact, and they weren't directly their films; they'd merely bankrolled the company that made them.

But I can't stress enough that this is incredibly rare in my own experience - in fact, it's the only time I've ever had a booklet piece censored, as opposed to editorially tweaked. Although I know someone who told me with some pride that a different rightsholder took such strong exception to his entire booklet essay that it ended up being scrapped altogether - but he still got paid, so he wasn't bothered.
Last edited by MichaelB on Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#34 Post by swo17 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:34 pm

[cough]Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate[/cough]

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#35 Post by Feego » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:38 pm

In his commentary for the 1925 Phantom of the Opera that was included on the old Milestone DVD, Scott MacQueen doesn't mince words about his disdain for nearly everything about the movie, save for Lon Chaney's performance. He flat out calls director Rupert Julian "a hack" and ridicules many scenes in the movie for what he perceives as a lack of artistic vision or even basic understanding of filmic storytelling. But lest you think it's just a bitch fest, MacQueen does offer some very good production information, particularly concerning the movie's complicated history of recuts and re-releases.

Steve Haberman's commentary on Universal's 1931 Dracula (included on the US edition but curiously left off the UK one) pretty much trashes the frequently championed Spanish version, which many consider to be superior to the English. His commentary is not particularly illuminating, but when I viewed the Spanish version recently for the first time in many years, I can't say I disagree with him. It's a terrible film on nearly all fronts, and the more fluid camera work that is often lauded as virtuoso really just comes off as self-indulgent.

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#36 Post by MichaelB » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:58 pm

swo17 wrote:[cough]Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate[/cough]
Similarly, I gather Criterion's experience on Thief was...

...well, put it like this, there's a reason why Arrow didn't seek Michael Mann's involvement with their edition! Which they weren't contractually required to solicit anyway: as far as the UK is concerned, it's MGM's property, not Mann's.

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#37 Post by dwk » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:42 pm

David Kalat's commentary for Criterion's Godzilla was censored

In that post he mentions that Toho requires a full script be written and approved for Godzilla commentaries and that the commentator can not deviate from their script.

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#38 Post by Thornycroft » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:45 am

When Wreckage and Rage: Making Alien 3 was created for the Alien Quadrilogy boxset, 20th Century Fox demanded the removal of 21 minutes of footage they felt was too critical of the studio. They allowed it to be restored for the Anthology Blu-Ray set.

Though even the cut version is brutal for a special feature released by a major studio.

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#39 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:18 am

Similarly I hear that Steven Soderbergh really didn't get on with the guy who interviewed him on the commentary for Schizopolis.
dwk wrote:David Kalat's commentary for Criterion's Godzilla was censored

In that post he mentions that Toho requires a full script be written and approved for Godzilla commentaries and that the commentator can not deviate from their script.
Are they allowed to do the approved script for the commentary in an undermining sarcastic tone or a squeaky voice? :wink:

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#40 Post by zedz » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:53 pm

colinr0380 wrote:Similarly I hear that Steven Soderbergh really didn't get on with the guy who interviewed him on the commentary for Schizopolis.
dwk wrote:David Kalat's commentary for Criterion's Godzilla was censored

In that post he mentions that Toho requires a full script be written and approved for Godzilla commentaries and that the commentator can not deviate from their script.
Are they allowed to do the approved script for the commentary in an undermining sarcastic tone or a squeaky voice? :wink:
No, but they're allowed to roll their eyes while reading it.

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#41 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:13 pm

dwk wrote:David Kalat's commentary for Criterion's Godzilla was censored

In that post he mentions that Toho requires a full script be written and approved for Godzilla commentaries and that the commentator can not deviate from their script.
Given the forum we're on, I'm guessing most people here know this already, but Criterion had to recall their laserdiscs of the first three James Bond films because Albert Broccoli objected to unspecified elements of the commentaries—probably some of the more salacious remarks about the cast and crew, rather than any criticisms of the films themselves. But a lot of copies had already been sold and the "banned" commentaries are trivially easy to find online now. Broccoli is of course gone now, but I wonder if Eon now reviews commentaries in advance when they're recorded for new releases.

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Indicator

#42 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:38 pm

Final specs for Ship of Fools:
SpoilerShow
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Despite the line-up suggesting otherwise, the commentary was commissioned by and is exclusive to Indicator. (Mill Creek has the US rights, so a Twilight Time commentary isn’t going to be happening any time soon.)

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